Questions: what is the minimum requirement for a scientific paper to be accepted? How will i know what quality should my paper have to be accepted in a scientific journal? If i read the scientific papers of other scientists will it help me know the quality needed and how will i know?

Perhaps i have set as requirement for the acceptance very difficult and of very high quality papers. What should i do? If the paper is not accepted or is not suitable for acceptance could i keep it somewhere in the house and continue working on other papers and should i do the same for other papers that will not be accepted perhaps?

I want to make scientific contributions but perhaps my expectations for quality of the work and paper generally are too high.

I am an undergraduate student at a math department at a university.

Thank you.

  • 9
    That's why students have advisors or mentors. Find an academic who is happy to mentor you on this, they know this much better. Jul 30, 2021 at 12:10
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    please note that in very many cases people have the slightly different problem of overestimating the quality of their contribution. One does not simply want to “make a scientific paper”. If you cannot get someone in your university to discuss your work, this is not an encouraging sign. Jul 30, 2021 at 13:03
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    An important criterion is that you think it is an interesting and/or useful contribution to the field. There is no real point in publishing papers if they are of little interest or importance to anybody (and novel does not imply interesting or useful). The purpose of writing a paper is to communicate an information/understanding, but there has to be an audience. Quality is much better than quantity in the long run, and publication is only the first step in acceptance by the research community, not the last. Jul 30, 2021 at 14:24
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    I should add I have a large directory on my computer of half-baked papers (in both senses ;o) and a fair few papers in my publication list that might have been better left unfinished (not wrong, I hope, just not interesting or useful). Choosing which topics to work on is an important skill to develop. Jul 30, 2021 at 14:26
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    The best work by undergrad students I have seen were students who did not think it was publication-worthy. Jul 30, 2021 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Read existing papers.

In general, the first thing you need to do is to conduct a systematic review of the scientific literature, to make sure that you gain a solid understanding of the state of the art of the field, as well as any openings where more research can be conducted. One of the most fundamental tasks you have as a researcher is to convince your reader that your paper contains novel research; if you fail to do so, your paper will not be accepted to by a journal.

Additionally, reading lots of existing papers should give you an idea about how papers in your field are typically structured. Often, this is something like "Abstract, introduction, methodology, results, conclusions" but this might be different for mathematics.

Furthermore, if you're doing any human subjects experimentation, even something as innocuous as giving people a survey, you must obtain ethics approval from your university's IRB. Only the most predatory of journals would be willing to accept a paper that has not obtained ethics approval; again, this is the bare minimum for a paper to be accepted.

Finally, I would recommend that you work on improving your spelling and grammar. The point of a scientific paper is to communicate your results with the scientific community at large, and errors in these aspects will work to impair understanding, and a paper that is difficult to understand because of spelling and grammar is unlikely to be accepted.

  • @Buffy The question as posed: "what is the minimum requirement for a scientific paper to be accepted? How will i know what quality should my paper have to be accepted in a scientific journal?" I believe that I addressed these points. Perhaps I could make it more explicit, however.
    – nick012000
    Jul 31, 2021 at 12:36

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